Guadalupe, continued from page 7 would have anticipated somebody like the Sierra Club would have filed, but not the San Marcos Foundation.” But the GBRA failed to anticipate a claim on their water or they would have made one themselves. The GBRA is about to launch phase one of a $600 million plan called the Lower Guadalupe Basin project that hopes to take groundwater from areas near Refugio,Victoria, Goliad, and Calhoun counties and mix it with Guadalupe River water from near Tivoli before pumping it to San Antonio. Later phases of the project are more ambitious and costly, if not downright odd. Water will be caught at the bottom of the river and pumped back to the top. Some water will even be siphoned from the Colorado River and fed to the Guadalupe River. West describes the SMRF permit as a devious backdoor effort to limit growth, akin to the Endangered Species Act. \(It’s worth noting GBRA sided with the salamander in Austin’s famous largest customers seem to agree with West. By far the biggest potential consumer of Guadalupe River water is the City of San Antonio. Both city government and its water authority have written the TNRCC to urge them to reject the SMRF permit. Other Central Texas cities with visions of burgeoning suburbs, such as Kerrville and Victoria, have also protested. The lobbying arm of the water merchants predicts doom and hellfire if the SMRF application is granted. The organization, the Texas Water Consera mad dash of environmental groups appropriating rivers across the state. \(The TNRCC’s Chenoweth says no In a September 2001 letter to its members, TWCA’s general manager wrote:”The effects of foreclosing future water-supply development in major river basins of the State, the inescapable result of granting [SMRF’s application], most surely will cascade across the State ofTexas…The ultimate effect of allowing private control of the state’s water resources for environmental benefit to the exclusion of meeting human water needs will be crippling.” SMRF’s Dianne Wassenich bristles at the idea that her group is acting selfishly. “Their interests are consumptive and providing water for sale, not for preserving water and helping coastal communities,” she says. She frowns as clumps of lawn clippings from a golf course upstream float past. “All we are saying is ‘Stop: Almost all of the apple is gone,'” she continues. “Let’s save the seeds so there will be .future apples. That’s the difference between us.” The town of Seadrift recedes into the distance as Wesley Blevins motors his 16-foot skiff smoothly across San Antonio Bay. It’s early yet, and he cautions that later, on the way back, the wind will pick up. The 56-year-old Blevins doesn’t mind the wind, he says. A hard south wind comes up in early spring and turns the water chocolate. Blevins calls it the million-dollar wind because it blows the shrimp out of the Guadalupe delta lakes, and eventually, straight into the nets of boats like his, working the bay. His wife Janie Blevins smiles in the skiff. “It brings our babies in,” she says. Blevins steers the boat, his leathery brown face staring into the wind. He started shrimping sometime about the age of three with his dad. His grandfather was also a shrimper on San Antonio Bay. Six of his brothers were shrimpers. Two of his sisters married shrimpers. Today in addition to his work as a commercial fisherman, he is the leader of the Calhoun County Shrimpers, in which capacity lie tries to resuscitate an industry on the brink. He stops the skiff not far from the mouth of the Guadalupe River in a brackish tidal lake. Blevins digs out a white pole from underneath his feet and reaches into the dark water. He pulls out the pole; it’s full of slimy green algae. “The lakes produce thousands and thousands of shrimp,” lie says “but these days [the lakest are clogged with algae in the summer because there is not enough fresh water. It gives the shrimp no place to go. You can’t even throw a hook out here and fish because of all the Janie Blevins loves the river for more than the livelihood it provides her flintily Jake Bernstein 16 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 6/21/02
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